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Entries in Joe Cortright (2)


Quirky Attracts College Educated Young Adults

"Portlandia" has added anecdotes to flesh out Portland's quirky reputation, but what may not be so quirky is the city's attraction of young, college-educated adults.

In an article in The Washington Post, local economist Joe Cortright says data disputes the "Portlandia"-perpetuated view that young adults come to Portland to retire. Cortright says the unemployment rate for 25-to-34-year-olds with college degrees in Portland is 4.8 percent, which he claims is lower than comparable rates in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta or New York.

That Portland is a young person's mecca is borne out by statistics showing the city added 34,545 young college graduates since 2000, which as a percentage of growth outstrips New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

It appears to be true, Cortright says, that young people move to Portland without a job. That's because, he explains, they are coming here to create a future life in a place with the attributes they like — a compact downtown, cultural amenities, public transit options, proximity to nature and good food.

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Jobs Policy and Ivory Towers

Prominent Oregonians offered sharply different — and somewhat ironic — views last week on whether state government can affect the economy. A well known economist said the state is merely along for the ride, while the Senate's top Republican insisted state actions can dampen job growth or propel creation of small business.

Joe Cortright, a private economist known for popularizing the idea of traded-sector jobs, told a legislative committee the state is along for the ride and cannot affect the future.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli disagreed with Cortright in an op-ed piece published by The Oregonian: "I'd like to advise these economists to install some windows into their ivory towers. I am afraid they are ignoring the living testimony of Oregon's thousands of small businesses if they help perpetuate that overregulation and excessive tax burden have nothing to do with the economic distress of businesses or our ability to recruit new employers to Oregon. A cursory look at the state's excessive minimum wage, top tax rate and regulatory creep all reveal these factors to be significant forces affecting Oregon's economic future."

Senate and House Republicans have charged there were too few job-creation proposals considered in the 2011 session. This debate is bound to continue between now and the February legislative session, as well as into the political campaign season.

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